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Archive for March, 2016

We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one.

Thus sayeth The Doctor, and I’m inclined to agree. If life was truly a competition, the winner wouldn’t be the person with the shiniest toys or most money or greatest political influence: it would be the one with the best stories.

Because that’s what memories are, really. They are the stories we tell about ourselves and others that bring a smile to the face or act as a warning. When someone dies, what do we do after the service? We sit around and tell stories about the deceased. I despise funerals, but very much like these gatherings of friends and family.

We tell stories of adventure and bravery and kindness and wisdom and utter joy. Stories are embarrassing and humbling and inspiring, and the most memorable often involve a serendipitous event (note that the event might not have been serendipitous for the actors, just for the story in hindsight).

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to spend a week co-creating stories with a dear friend, and it occurred to me that it is easy to create stories while on vacation but it is often a little more difficult to create them during a regular work week. Well, good ones anyway. It is far too easy to create bad stories during the week, and that’s one of the challenges of life: to create good stories in our daily lives, without the benefit of vacation or travel or visits from old friends.

I strongly suggest taking a note from The Doctor. Wear a fez to work (or a tiara to the mall), go outside and soak up some nature, do someone a kindness, and remember the words of Charles de Lint: “No one else see the world as you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.”

“The Big Bang,” Doctor Who, Series 5, Episode 13, 2010

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Right Living

JG07SP Natural Garden Azaleas

Right Living is living a life of meaning, of purpose, and of generosity.  Do not let the word “purpose” intimidate you: for every single person living a life with a grand, expansive purpose, there are many more living lives of a more intimate purpose, such as sharing wisdom, spreading kindness, rearing compassionate children, creating art, providing care to others, or speaking truth with grace.

Right Living does not take advantage of others in a way that brings harm of any type, nor does it diminish the value of the contributions of others.  It does not negate the experiences of others,  ridicule their dreams, or create discord or fear within the soul of another living being (of any species).

To engage in Right Living is to look inside to find out who you truly are.  It is to embrace your identity, including the parts of yourself that you are not proud of.  It is to make a genuine effort to transform harmful habits into helpful ones.  It is to use the energy and the power of anger to remove yourself from harm or to remedy a situation and then to ground that energy out rather than allow it to consume and control you.  Right Living does not require you to be always happy or upbeat, as that is both unrealistic and a lie; rather, it allows you to feel the full range of human emotions without having them rule your every waking moment.

Right Living is choosing peace and joyful solutions whenever possible and properly directing action and energy when peace is not an option.  It is forgiving those who harm you; forgiving yourself for the harm you have caused others (or self); and striving to accept the perfect imperfections within.  It is a path that must be consciously chosen every step of the way, and one that will always welcome back those who stray for a time.  It is a path of reflection and response as opposed to reaction without thought.

It is a way forward when the world seems to be hurtling toward the past, and when you find yourself at a crossroad, it is a path worthy of your consideration.

PHOTO: Steps lead the way through vibrant azalea bushes in the Natural Garden of the Portland Japanese Garden. Photo credit: David Cobb

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